indieBRAG Blog

Book Trailers- are they worth it?

I have read a lot about book trailers, and I have watched my share of them, and here is my final thought on whether they are worth it – I don't know! There seems to be little evidence that book trailers help sell books. I enjoyed watching some of them and a few actually got me interested in taking a look at the book. However, in general, most looked amateurish; they were just a slideshow with music. They were more helpful if I went to the book's website first and then watched the video. In other words, they did not grab my attention on their own; rather they simply added to my overall interest in the book. But the point is I'm not sure they would encourage me to actually buy the book. Obviously, I am biased but I do enjoy being able to click on a book trailer when I go to one of our B.R.A.G.MedallionTM Honoree detail pages. But, there again, I have already sought the book out and I know it is well worth the investment of my time and money. So here is what I think- A book trailer is a nice enhancement to all the…

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Hot Air Balloons during the Civil War

By Christopher Zuniga The Union and the Confederate armies both used Hot Air Balloons for spying during the Civil War. The first person to receive an order to build an Hot Air Balloons for the Union army was John Wise. In April of 1861 Murat Hasket wrote a letter to the U.S. treasury Salmon D. that the U.S. should create a balloon corps to use as a spying devise under Thaddeus Lowe's command. On July 17, 1861 Abraham Lincoln agree to form a balloon corps. During this time the opposing side tried to shoot down the spying balloon. After Lincoln heard that, he ordered Lowe to build four more additional balloons. The balloons that Lowe made were measured to be from 32,000 ft to 15,000 ft and were also able to climb up to 5,000 ft into the air. One of Lowe balloons was shot down on November 16, 1861. Lowe was not keeping orders so he resigned from balloon corps on May 8, 1861. By August 1861 the corps disbanded. Lowe also designed an aircraft carrier that was used to transport hot air balloons and allow them to be used in areas closer to the battles. They would launch…

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Throwing Clay Shadows – Thea Atkinson

Author Interview: Thea Atkinson Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction; call it what you will: she prefers to describe her work as something akin to the left of mainstream. Her characters often find themselves in the darker edges of their own spirits but ultimately manage to find the light they seek. She has been an editor, a freelancer, and a teacher, but fiction is her passion. She now blogs and writes and twitters. Not necessarily in that order. Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.com Thea, congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion for your book, Throwing Clay Shadows. Please tell me a little about your book. TCS began as part of a larger 3 time framed novel. Because it had reincarnation theories as its base, it explored the lives of five characters over three lifetimes and how they connected. It was really way too large a project to be considered a single novel. When I began to self publish through ebooks, I broke the book into pieces because I realized they could stand alone and not be connected to each other. TCS became a single novel about a girl who loses her mother in 1800s Scotland. Maggie comes…

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# Authors, Reviews, Trolls and the fight goes on!- Part 2

Our previous blog on "Reviews" triggered a great conversation. In this, the second blog on the subject, we offer authors some thoughts on dealing with negative reviews. I hope you will join us again and share your thoughts and experiences- 1. Take negative reviews into consideration. The reviewer just may be right! Well-¬written and thoughtful critical reviews can be helpful – painful, but helpful. Be open-minded. Listen. Read. Be willing to consider the opinion of others. In the end, you may still disagree but you may also gain some valuable learning. 2. Respond to fair-minded reviews. It is always nice to thank someone who takes the time to read and critique your book. You should do this even if you disagree with the review but be gracious, and NEVER enter into an emotional, heated discourse. No-one benefits and more times than not, it turns personal and ugly. 3. Consider reviewing books for other authors. This is the best way to create the "word of mouth" buzz that all authors want. In turn, your reviews may encourage others to review your book. But always be objective and professional. Never gush or attack; both are equally amateurish.4. Ignore the "trolls". Unfortunately, there…

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Authors, Reviews, Trolls and the fight goes on!

Wow! It seems the entire literary community is on fire about reviews and alleged "troll" attacks. First, let me say that indieBRAG does not depend on reviews for several very good reasons. A well-written review by a reviewer who genuinely cares about books is a valuable source of information – favorable or not. However, there are more than a few people out there who use this venue just to be mean and disagreeable. Others try to show their higher level "intellect" by picking any book apart. They believe that to critique means simply to find fault. As evidence of this I should note that even the universally acclaimed book, To Kill A Mockingbird, has received one star reviews! BLOG #1We will be offering some information about writing a respectful and responsible review.BLOG #2We will also be offering authors some advice and, hopefully, help in dealing with negative reviews. So here we go, be sure to join the conversation- Reviewers first- Our B.R.A.G. interviewer and a book reviewer from www.layeredpages.com Stephanie Moore: The most important thing to do when reviewing is to read the book first of course. You must understand what you are reading in order to write a good…

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Audio Books-The Next New Thing! Part 1.

Here are a few highlights from the 2011 Association of American Publishers report: Total book sales in all categories hit $805.7 million• Hardcover books fell 11.3%• Paperbacks fell 19%• eBook sales increased 115.8%• Downloaded audio books increased 8.8% to $6.5million.• The fastest growing category in the iTunes App store – books! For those of you who may be skeptical about audio books – I should point out that it was just a few short years ago that no one believed eBooks would ever catch on! If you put audiobooks into your search you will find HUNDREDS of companies getting into the audiobook production business. You no longer see "never" when readers are asked how often they listen to audiobooks; everyone is now ready and willing to give audiobooks a try. The past stigma about listening to books is long past. Listeners are no longer lazy but busy! We now use audiobooks while our hands are doing other things. After all, listening to stories has been part of every culture, teaching us and entertaining us, from the beginning of time. Audiobooks are here and growing in popularity, they are the next means of getting your book out there to new audience…

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Dirt – Sharon Dwyer

Author Interview: Sharon Dwyer I would like to introduce Author Sharon Dwyer, the winner of the BRAG Medallion for the book, "Dirt."Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.blogspot.com Sharon, congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion for your book, Dirt. Please tell me a little about your story? First I would like to thank indieBRAG for the award and the readers who enjoyed the book. Dirt is an historical fiction book that started out as YA and seemed to slip into the adult readers world. The story is centered around two children, Sammy and Birdie Larkin, who find themselves orphaned during the great Dust Bowl in the panhandle of Oklahoma. They decide to pretend their parents are still alive and continue to live on their family farm rather than be separated and sent to the state home for orphans. Living in a rural area, the fact that their parents are never seen goes unnoticed for some time. The children find ways to stave off the worse of their hunger and fend for themselves in a very hostile environment. That is until an incident causes them to rethink their actions. After I published the book, I've talked with quite a few people and…

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The Mustard Seeds – Karen Mueller Bryson

Author Interview: Karen Mueller Bryson I would like to introduce Author Karen Mueller Bryson, the winner of the BRAG Medallion for the book, "The Mustard Seeds."Read the entire interview at: www.layeredpages.com Karen, congrats on winning the BRAG Medallion! Please tell me about your story, The Mustard Seeds. The story is about Elliot White, a 16-year old musical savant with Asperger's Syndrome. After his mom's sudden death, Elliot is forced to leave his performing arts high school in New York City and relocate to Winslow, Arizona to live with his eccentric aunt, Amaryllis Long. When Elliot discovers his new high school has no music program, he decides to form his own band of musical misfits, who it turns out, are unable to attract an audience. This is when Amaryllis inspires Elliot by giving him some mustard seeds, explaining that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. As their faith grows, Elliot and his band-mates begin to believe they will be able to give a public performance, but the school's principal, Mr. Winters, who just cut all of the arts programs, stands in their way. The premise of your story is heart felt and moving. What inspired you to write…

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A chat with best selling author Addison Moore

  Addison Moore is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Previously she worked as a therapist on a locked psychiatric unit for nearly a decade. She resides on the West Coast with her husband, four wonderful children, and two dogs where she eats too much chocolate and stays up way too late. When she's not writing, she's reading. Addison's Celestra Series has been optioned for film by 20th Century Fox.   Thanks you so much Addison for sharing your thoughts and experiences on self-publishing with us. It is encouraging to us all to see wonderful self-published authors, such as you, get the attention they deserve!I am sure the readers and authors at indieBRAG will appreciate your input- First of all, why did you self-publish? Did you try to get a traditional publishing deal?I started self-publishing in 2011, ironically after I procured my dream agent. I was deterred by how long it would take to get a traditional book into the market and I wanted to write more than a book a year. Did you use professional help for story or copy editing, cover design or in other ways?My husband and I…

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To KDP or not – that is the question!

A blog piece by Jim Kukral at the Huffington Post on the subject of KDP Select gave me food for thought and I began researching other points of view on this very popular means for indie authors to sell their books.As Mr. Kukral points out, there are two very strong sides to this issue. I think the big question is "making money" versus "building an audience". Many of our B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree authors take advantage of KDP and utilize the opportunity to give their books away for free for a limited time. They get a bit of boost in sales and make a bit of money in the process. The question is – does this actually build their audience? As this article states, those who seek out free book downloads are not particularly loyal readers and may do little talking about or reviewing of books. I do not know the statistics, but I wonder how many authors who take advantage of KDP actually build a big following?Sales on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony eReader and other means of reading eBooks arguably do not match the sales that amazon.com does. On the other hand, by placing their book on a site…

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